On August 2, Jenny and I had the extreme pleasure of once more visiting the theater in this most theater-influenced of cities!
Staying to see this play was a serious factor in our decision-making process waaaaay back when we were deciding when to return to 'Merka. It wasn't just any play -- it's Sean O'Casey's "The Plough and the Stars," a story about the regular people of Dublin set during the failed uprising of 1916. (When it was first performed at the famous Abbey Theatre, it caused riots. Not just throwing-tomatoes-at-the-stage kind of mayhem. I mean genuine riots. That's how revolutionary and controversial it was.) And it wasn't in just any theater -- it was scheduled for the Abbey stage, that very same place where the riots occurred nearly eighty years ago!
Well, we were in for a slight disappointment. Some time after we purchased our tickets, the Abbey announced that it had to undergo renovations of some kind, and the play would be moved to the relatively nearby OReilly Theatre. The move really was a bummer for us; yes, we got to see a play at the Peacock, the Abbey's experimental stage, for Jenny's birthday last October. But this was O'Casey, darnit!
Of course, once we got right down to it, the play was still a treat for us. We made a proper date night out of it, dining first at Messrs. Maguire at a table overlooking O'Connell Bridge and the River Liffey. We were decked out; Jenny looked stunning in her black dress, and I had my dashing Irish tweed coat (which I didn't get to wear, this being one of Dublin's three days of summer). A kind theatergoer took our picture outside before the show:
The stage was intriguing -- rather than the complete walls of the apartment where both the first and final act were set, we saw the doors and the metal girders. The bones of the building really emphasized the vicarious glimpse we were getting into this home, the side of the Easter Rising that history books and popular imagination fail to talk about. As far as we could tell, the play was excellent. (I say as far as we could tell because all the actors were proficient in their inner-Dublin accents; even a year here has not fully prepared us for every turn of phrase or every unique intonation!) A couple of the actors stood out from the rest, especially the man who played Fluther -- his presence stole the show, as far as we were concerned.
It may not have been the night we dreamed of months and months ago, but in its own way, our night at the theater was still magical, and I for one am glad we stuck around to experience it!